On A Tangent

Within the past few days an announcement from the U.S. Senate requires that I digress. Senator Charles Schumer’s proposed amendment to the National Intelligence Reform Act is being opposed by everyone in our already distressed supply chain. No one questions the good intentions of Senator Schumer because all agree that the present rate of random scanning of all containers landing in U.S. ports (about 4%) just doesn’t cut it. 100% scanning of all containers, including empty ones, would provide the peace of mind we need, but simply and candidly put, the chaotic operations within conventionally-structured terminals will not permit anything higher than the 4%. There’s not enough space, there’s not enough time, there’s not enough personnel, there’s not enough money, etc., etc. … There’s no shortage of problems, though. Senator Schumer, however, has attempted to take the bull by the horns by legislating manual inspection of 10% of landed containers, and although he deserves an “A” for effort, his proposal has hit raw nerves. Rather than being a step in the right direction, such a requirement would adversely affect our troubled delivery chain and could very likely bring operations to a grinding halt.

Fourteen of the leading trade groups contacted members of the Senate advising them in writing of their opposition to the amendment. These signatories cited traffic problems at ports, delayed deliveries, and subsequent shortages and price increases for consumers. An even more important consideration would be the additional stress placed upon personnel in the supply chain and their normal reactions to such stress. If Senator Schumer’s time-consuming amendment were to become law, the response by encumbered employees along the entire supply chain would amount to a “national crisis” and would elicit a noisy response from all quarters.

Please review item #6 on this website’s Problems and Solutions page. The problem side clearly but briefly acknowledges that inspections are severely hampered in container terminals because of hasty and random stacking. This is a result of what has been stated above and needs to be repeated; “There’s not enough space, there’s not enough time, there’s not enough personnel, there’s not enough money, etc., etc. …”. On the solutions side of that ledger it states that our patented system assures that inspections will be smooth, efficient and unhampered. Our system requires that each container, assigned to a predetermined slot prior to arrival, must first pass through an x-ray scanner. Then it is stored in its programmed slot. Because our system utilizes a small fraction of the acreage now committed to present day terminal operations, there’s no lack of space for scanning procedures. Because our system does away with unnecessary repositioning moves, there’s no lack of time for scanning procedures. Because our system permits timely hiring and training procedures, there’s no shortage of personnel. Because our system requires so little in the way of material handling equipment and general maintenance, there’s no lack of money. It boils down to an equation:

Sufficient space + sufficient time + sufficient personnel + sufficient money = 100% scanning

Senator Schumer has our best interests in mind, and he sure knows how to get our attention.